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This is BBC World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi.
Increasing pressure on the Ukrainian president to resign, as protesters
begin sealing off parts of the capital, Kiev. They have barricaded
Independence Square and government buildings in anger at a decision to
back away from the trade deal with the EU.
Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, is for the first time directly
accused of war crimes by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.
But will the evidence against him ever go to trial?
Also coming up: British Olympic hero Tom Daley says he is in a
relationship with another man. What impact will this have on his career?
I think people will make a big deal of this. Is it a big deal? I don't
think so. And we will hear from Ivorian
midfielder Yaya Tour, this year's winner of the BBC African footballer
of the year. Hello and welcome. A tense standoff
is underway over Ukraine's future in the capital, Kiev. Thousands of
demonstrators have gathered for fresh protests, while other
activists are barricaded inside city hall. The unrest was triggered at
Ukraine's 11th hour decision to back away from a deal which would ensure
closer ties with the European Union. This is the scene in the capital,
Kiev. Protesters are entrenched inside City Hall and have put up
barricades. Protesters now want President Viktor Yanukovich to
resign. People power on display in Kiev.
Protesters took to the streets to paralyse their government. They set
up roadblocks to stop officials getting to work. At government
headquarters, no door was left unguarded. It will be our victory if
they don't come inside. Protesters occupy Independence Square. They're
demanding closer links with Europe instead of Russia. Thousands spent
the night here. They spent all might building barricades using large
pieces of wood and metal. This is to stop police moving onto the square.
Yesterday, there are violent clashes between riot police and protesters.
More than 100 were injured. The opposition is demanding that the
president resign. But these demonstrators told me they are not
surprised. TRANSLATION: Whenever people take to the streets, our
president runs away. He is a coward. Not everyone in this country wants
closer links with the European Union. But these people believe that
the future of Ukraine lies to the west, and they blame their president
for holding them back. Our reporter joins us now live. I
hope you can hear me. People still out in force. Give us an account of
what is going on. That is correct. It is bitterly
cold, but despite that there are thousands of people here on
Independence Square. They have been listening to music and political
speeches. They are determined to keep in this square as the focal
point of their protest. Some people here will probably spend the night.
Last night, people lit fires to keep themselves warm. It is bitterly
cold, but this is the centre of the protest. There were attempts to
surround the government building today to make sure that no
government officials could get inside the building. The protesters
feel their demands should be met. The president seems to be taking a
relaxed view of this? He is going ahead with a visit abroad?
That is correct. Had speculation that perhaps Viktor Yanukovich would
cancel his trip to China, but he is due to leave tomorrow. That would
suggest that he is confident about his position here. He gave an
interview to a number of Ukrainian television channels earlier today
and said that everyone had the right to express their own opinion, as
long as that was done peacefully. He said the opposition, the authorities
and police all had to abide by the law of the state. He called on the
opposition to work with the authorities to identify people whom
he said had provoked Coble during the recent mass protests.
How far do you get the impression that these protests are being
managed and directed by the opposition? Or is this real people
power we are witnessing? There is a degree of management
year, but I think there is also deep disappointment amongst people who
are gathering on the square at the disillusionment when it became clear
that there are president was not going to signed this historic deal
with the European Union to move Ukraine politically closer to
Europe. Some people in the east of the country are upset, but many
people in Kiev and in the West are very angry. This country is deeply
divided and not everyone wants closer ties with the US. Many people
-- with the European Union. Many people in the east of the country
feel closer to Russia. They are worried about breaking important
economic ties with Moscow. Thank you. The atmosphere slightly
reminds you of a rock concert at the moment, seeming fairly peaceful.
Thailand's Prime Minister has rejected a demand from protesters
that she should resign and hand over power to an unelected people's
council. Yingluck Shinawatra says that would be unconstitutional. The
premier says she's still open to talks but on the streets there is an
uglier mood, with security forces using rubber bullets and tear gas
against demonstrators. Bangkok's battle grounds. Year in
the streets of the old Royal Quarter, two sides are slugging it
out in a conflict which keeps coming back to the city. On one side, a
government that cannot be beaten in elections. On the other, a movement
set on bringing it down through the power of protest. Every so often,
they think there is a breakthrough. They are trying to take the Prime
Minister's office. A symbolic privacy is not actually there. But
the gate as well fortified. Every surge is met by clouds of tear gas.
Undeterred, they began ringing up an assortment of improvised weapons,
hoping to score a hit or at least unnerve the watching police. This is
their final attempt to push back these lines. They're hoping they can
push their way through. So far they have not managed to push through
police lines. After nine days of this, you have two ask, what is the
point? The government will not resign. Was a big majority in
parliament, it doesn't have to. But such is the Prime Minister -- such
is the animosity towards the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and
her family, some people believe they have to take to the streets. Towards
the end of the day, they brought in a new weapon. Things really kicked
off. Rockets, home-made bombs, tear gas, lighting up the sky. The fight
is being led by hard-line student groups now. Perhaps this time, they
will breakthrough. And if they do, then what?
We are joined by a former American ambassador to Ukraine. Can street
power be effective in deciding what the political outcome is? Well, yes
it can, and it can in Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovich has seen this
before. In 2004, the Orange Revolution basically call the
government to schedule a new election after a fraudulent
election. Argues suggesting that when we look at this debate of
Moscow against the European Union and their offerings for Ukraine,
this is a street battle? Hopefully this is not a fight and it stays
peaceful between Viktor Yanukovich, the opposition and the protest is on
the street. They are there for two reasons. One is because there is
this desire on a significant part of Ukrainian population to align
themselves closer to Europe. They were unhappy when Viktor Yanukovich
said he would suspend preparations for signing a deal with the EU.
Second play, more blood was spilled this weekend and people are not
happy. The Ukrainians took pride in 2004 that they could do this
peacefully. People have come out in a backlash against that use of force
on Saturday morning. In Thailand, the military is taking a back-seat.
What is your assessment of any violence potential in Ukraine? The
military in Ukraine is largely conscript. The action was taken by
the ministry of interior specialist units provoked a special reaction.
At the police has been largely absence today. It might be an
acknowledgement from Viktor Yanukovich that the use of force
will be counter-productive. His options are becoming more narrow. If
he cannot risk a harsh crackdown, as you are suggesting, he also cannot
be seen to be caving in to the opposition, can he? We will have to
see. He has had a phone conversation earlier today with the president of
the European Commission were he has asked about engaging in negotiation.
The questionnaires, can he get into some sort of dialogue that begins to
answer some of the concerns you see from the protesters on the street.
How far can the opposition capitalise on this? The opposition
is trying to take advantage of the people on the street who just want
Europe. They will have to work together for a coherent message. The
question is, can they get in to some sort of dialogue with the President.
That is his best way out. At least 100,000 dead in the Syrian
conflict, many of them innocent civilians, and many others injured,
raped and abused. There can be no impunity for such crimes, says the
international community. Now the United Nations Human Rights
Commissioner Navi Pillay has for the first time directly implicated
President Bashar al-Assad in alleged war crimes and crimes against
humanity in Syria. She said investigations by her staff had
uncovered evidence leading all the way to the top of the Syrian
government. They have produced massive evidence.
They find the facts. Based on that, in their report, they have outlined
their view that the facts point to the commission of very serious war
crimes, crimes against humanity. They point to the fact that the
evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government,
including the head of state. That was Navi Pillay. We